Southbend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday proposed the creation of new voluntary-service programs to combat climate change and increasing rates of mental-health issues, among other objectives.
The plan, released by Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, calls for the recruitment of 250,000 young people in the coming years with a possible expansion to 1 million by 2026. It would expand programs such as AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps, while also creating new programs, to fight climate change, treat mental illness, and reduce rates of addiction.
Buttigieg has emphasized the power of national service throughout his upstart bid for the Democratic nomination, returning often to his service as a Naval Reserve officer in Afghanistan during stump speeches and interviews.
“At a moment when our social fabric is being torn apart, where people increasingly only hear voices that are like their own, it’s a really important time to build social capital through giving people opportunities to work in service in ways that are also going to deliver value to the country,” Buttigieg told the New York Times . “I also think you shouldn’t have to go to war to have that experience.”
A spokeswoman for the campaign said the program would cost $20 billion over ten years.